Enhanced Irrigation Systems in Australian Vineyards to Reduce Water Loss

December 2021

The use of irrigation systems in Australia has become more prolific as growers strive to improve their efficiency. This is particularly evident in the wine-growing regions of Australia where evaporation and runoff can present challenges for growers.

To address this problem winegrowers in Australia have been experimenting with different types of irrigation systems. Historically, sprinkler irrigation systems have been used by winegrowers for many years to replicate normal rainfall. With the increasing cost of water for irrigation and an appetite by wine consumers for more sustainable products, modern-day winegrowers have become more resourceful.

For example, in the wine-growing regions of South Australia, the practice of furrow or flood irrigation is being phased out. This method of irrigation loses a lot of water through evaporation. With increased water costs, growers have turned to drip irrigation.These drip irrigation methods are highly efficient with water being delivered slowly to the vine. More specific micro drip irrigation is also being trialled in Australian vineyards.

Manufacturers of irrigation systems have responded to this new demand for sustainable and efficient irrigation methods. Netafim, who is a trusted supplier of Think Water, has developed a precision method of micro drip irrigation that delivers water and nutrients right to the roots of the plant – yes that means under the soil. Studies have shown that while micro drip irrigation is a little more expensive to set up, it results in higher yields and a higher quality of grapes. Micro drip irrigation also has the benefit of saving water, fertilizer and reducing labour costs.

Micro drip irrigation can also be used to deliver fertilizer to the root – a process known as nutrigation. By delivering directly to the root zone, less fertilizer is needed and efficiency is improved.

Microdrip by Netafim provides economic solutions with high clogging resistance and a wide filtration area.

For more information about Netafim’s micro drip irrigation methods visit https://www.netafim.com.au/crop-solutions/grapes/

Many areas in Australia would not be suitable for viticulture without the use of irrigation, in particular, drip irrigation and more recently enhanced with micro drip irrigation. When growing vines the timing of water delivery is very important and is essential during the early budding and flowering stages of the growing season. Likewise, too much water in the period where the grapes are growing can also be a problem. For this reason, the control of water delivery is of paramount importance. Well designed irrigation systems for vineyards can include features such as sensors in the soil to monitor moisture as well as automated and remote control options. All these features help the grower time the delivery of the water as well as the volume delivered.

Talk to the team at Think Water about how micro drip and drip irrigation systems can enhance your vineyards performance in your region of Australia.

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